A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 14, 2011
It’s Mostly Fiscal or It’s Mainly Fiscal (International Monetary Fund or IMF nickname)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was founded in 1944-1945 and seeks to foster international development and sound monetary currencies. Some critics of the IMF claim that the it focuses too strictly on fiscal policy.

The IMF nickname “It’s Mostly Fiscal” (or “It’s Mainly Fiscal") has been cited in print since at least 1998. The nickname has been frequently used by economists such as Lawrence Summers.

There are many other IMF nicknames. The IMF nickname “Imposing Misery and Famine” has been cited in print since the 1980s. Another IMF “misery” nickname, “International Misery Fund,” has been cited in print since at least 1992. The IMF nickname “International Mother Fuckers” has been cited in print since at least 1997, but probably had spoken use long before this time. The IMF nickname “International Mafia Federation” has been cited in print since at least 2011.


Wikipedia: International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is the intergovernmental organization that oversees the global financial system by following the macroeconomic policies of its member countries, in particular those with an impact on exchange rate and the balance of payments. Its objectives are to stabilize international exchange rates and facilitate development through the encouragement of liberalising economic policies in other countries as a condition of loans, debt relief, and aid. It also offers loans with varying levels of conditionality, mainly to poorer countries. Its headquarters are in Washington, D.C., United States. The IMF’s relatively high influence in world affairs and development has drawn heavy criticism from some sources.

The International Monetary Fund was conceived in July 1944 originally with 45 members and came into existence in December 1945 when 29 countries signed the agreement, with a goal to stabilize exchange rates and assist the reconstruction of the world’s international payment system. Countries contributed to a pool which could be borrowed from, on a temporary basis, by countries with payment imbalances. The IMF was important when it was first created because it helped the world stabilize the economic system. The IMF works to improve the economies of its member countries. The IMF describes itself as “an organization of 187 countries (as of July 2010), working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty”.

Wikipedia: Lawrence Summers
Lawrence Henry Summers (born November 30, 1954) is an American economist. Until late 2010, he was Director of the White House National Economic Council for President Barack Obama. Summers is the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He is the 1993 recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal for his work in several fields of economics and was Secretary of the Treasury from 1999 to 2001, during the Clinton Administration.

Google Groups; soc.culture.indonesia
Newsgroups: soc.culture.indonesia, alt.culture.indonesia
From: (Dennis L. Fiddle)
Date: 1998/02/27
Subject: Economists Criticize IMF In a Study of Asia’s Crisis

The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition—February 26, 1998
Economists Criticize IMF
In a Study of Asia’s Crisis
By EDUARDO LACHICA
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
(...)
There’s muted support for the IMF’s re-education even in the higher circles of the Clinton administration. Deputy Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers has said—partly in jest—that the IMF should stop standing for “It’s Mostly Fiscal” and get a stronger grip on the regulation of the international financial system. Until recently the IMF has concerned itself only with budgets and payment balances, leaving others to worry about the inner workings of member economies.

Google Groups: flora.mai-not
Newsgroups: flora.mai-not
From: (Michael Givel)
Date: 1999/12/16
Subject: Old Neoliberalism in A New Package: US Treasury Sec. Summer’s Proposals of “Supposed” Reform of IMF

The Right Kind of IMF for a Stable Global Financial System
Treasury Secretary Lawrence H Summers - Remarks to London Business
School
EMBARGOED UNTIL 6:00 PM (LOCAL TIME) December 14 1999
Text as Prepared for Delivery
(...)
In the wake of these events, the IMF needs to focus its attention on countries’ vulnerability to this kind of dynamic. It should no longer be possible to joke, as I have done in the past, that IMF stands for It’s Mostly Fiscal.

Google Books
Global Tensions:
Challenges and Opportunities in the World Economy

Edited by Lourdes Benería and Savitri Bisnath
New York, NY: Routledge
2004
Pg. 78:
Lawrence Summers, the then US Treasury Secretary, once joked that IMF stands for “It’s Mainly Fiscal.”

Google Books
Globalization and Economic and Financial Instability
Edited by H. Peter Gray and John R. Dilyard
Northhampton, MA: E. Elgar Pub.
2005
Pg. 217:
A standing joke in developing countries has it that the initials “IMF” stand for “It’s Mainly Fiscal.”

Google Books
And the money kept rolling in (and out):
Wall Street, the IMF, and the bankrupting of Argentina

By Paul Blustein
New York, NY: PublicAffairs
2005
Pg. 45:
An oft-repeated joke about the IMF is that its initials stand for “It’s Mostly Fiscal.” The humor stems from the Fund’s seeming obsession with bludgeoning countries into cutting spending or raising taxes, as if there were no economic problem that a lower budget deficit or (better yet) fatter surplus wouldn’t cure. During the Asian financial crisis, the IMF would be accused—with considerable justification—of pushing countries such as Thailand and Korea too far in the (Pg. 46—ed.) direction of budgetary austerity, driving economies that were already headed for trouble even deeper into recessions. Paradoxically, in the case of Argentina, its pride and joy, the Fund’s pushing would be too weak.

Financial Times
Surplus nations urged by IMF to take up baton
By Chris Giles in Istanbul
Published: October 1 2009 07:34
(...)
The IMF’s nickname has long been “It’s Mostly Fiscal” but since January 2008 it has been in the unusual position of advising countries to boost deficit spending.

NYTimes.com: “The Conscience of a Liberal” blog by Paul Krugman
March 7, 2011, 12:36 pm
Does IMF Stand for Impressive Macroeconomic Flexibility?
So the IMF is holding a meeting on rethinking macroeconomic policy (I was invited but couldn’t make the timing work.) And the Fund’s chief economist has already made it clear that he’s open to some serious revision of the prevailing paradigm.

Since when is the IMF — whose initials, the joke used to go, stood for “it’s mostly fiscal” — so open-minded?

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Saturday, May 14, 2011 • Permalink